Fitness Bars Should Be Part of Your Home Gym
Gym workouts often involve the use of one kind of bar or another. This article will introduce you to three of our favorite bars for building full-body strength and give you some ideas for exercises you don’t normally do. You can perform these exercises at a gym or create your own home gym.
3 Fitness Bars for Your Home Gym
One of the simplest bars to use in any fitness routine. Most of us associate a barbell with the classic gym bench press, but we think you should be more adventurous and add the back squat and deadlift to your workout.
The barbell itself can weigh up to 18kg, so when adding weights be sure to add the bar weight to get the total weight. We know that to benefit more fully from a barbell workout, you should first focus your efforts on maintaining as close to perfect form as possible.
Using only a barbell, you could try the following workout for building strength:
Perform 3 sets of 5 reps of back squats, bench press, and the back strengthening, leg blasting, abs, hips, and forearm toughening deadlift.
Full Back Squat Tips:
- Stand upright with legs roughly shoulder-width apart
- Knees and hips bend as one unit—the movement should feel like you are sitting down into the squat
- Keeping your chest forward and upright will encourage the correct position for your back
- A full squat means that your knees will be angled at around 60 degrees at the lowest point, positioning the thigh/hip slightly below the knee
- Keep facing forwards. This will help your posture and stop you from curving your back unnaturally. The body should be working together, so be sure that the stress isn’t placed on the wrong muscles through bad posture
- When pushing back up into an upright position, be sure to push from the ground up using your whole body and not relying on arms or shoulders only
Bench Press Tips:
- At first, practice with the bar itself. This is enough weight for learning the correct technique
- Position your hands an equal distance apart. The bar will often have a marker showing you a good position to grip
- Lift the bar off the rack above your upper chest area and lock your arms fully extended
- Breathe in deeply and at a slow and steady pace let your elbow joint bend and your chest expand. Once the bar is resting just above your chest use your chest and breathe out to push the bar back up steadily
- Be sure to practice this breathing technique until you have perfected it; it is very important to ensure you use the breath to be able to fully commit and use your full strength when pressing the bar
- You need to stand much closer to the bar than you would expect. Aim to have your feet positioned under the bar so that the center of your foot is directly underneath it
- Without bending at the knees or letting your hips drop, grip onto the bar at roughly the same width as your feet (or slightly wider)
- Bend your knees and move your shins until they touch the bar, but keep the bar still
- Extend your back by squeezing your chest upwards/raising the chest. Don’t let your hips drop
- Lift the bar up as close to your legs as possible
- You should feel the core working as you lift upwards (protecting your spine)
Don’t underestimate the power of a correctly performed deadlift! It can bring results very quickly.
You’ll find you can quickly build up to be able to lift an incredible amount of weight because of the large muscle groups involved in the lift.
People who don’t know the deadlift will think you are the next Hulk when, after a matter of weeks, you can lift your body weight. Be sure to learn the correct technique. Otherwise, you may end up with an injury. If you’re not 100% sure how to do a deadlift, ask a trainer or watch some videos online.
Once you’ve finished working out with the barbell you can place it in your home gym or hide it away under your bed where it’ll take up very little space.
You’ve seen gymnasts swinging round and round at the Olympics. Now we are going to ask you to perform their gymnastics moves… just kidding! But if you can, then we are very impressed.
Gymnastics bars aren’t only for gymnasts. Anyone looking for a tough bodyweight workout that can build up endurance and strength should consider trying them out.
Be prepared for a tough challenge, though.
It takes a lot of grip strength to cling onto the bar when lifting your own weight up and over the top of a horizontal bar.
We would recommend starting with some parallel bars. It is possible to perform dips to work the triceps hard. It’s also possible to work the core using exercises such as this one:
Parallel Bars Core Workout:
- Place one hand on each bar and lift your weight so the arms are fully and comfortably locked in place
- Move your feet side-by-side so they are touching, extend both legs together in front of you at a 90-degree angle, and engage the core muscles
- Hold this position, breathing normally, and you’ll feel the muscles working hard to keep you in position.
You can also use parallel bars to strengthen your back by hanging, or hold yourself in place and take some pressure off your spine. Gymnastics bars are quite a big piece of equipment, but can quite easily be taken apart and stored away in a cupboard—so don’t worry if you are short on space.
What could be better than a bar that slots into the top of most doorframes with ease and offers the chance of some muscle building every time you walk through the door? It’s tempting simply to swing back and forth, as well. It’s fun and can work your core while building endurance through swinging until your arms fatigue.
Yes, you look like a monkey—but monkeys are cool and they have the self-control to stick to the banana diet. If you aren’t as motivated (or it’s raining outside and the gym seems too far away), a pull-up bar is a fun way to perform sets, working triceps and biceps or using your core to hold yourself in place while lifting your legs and holding them parallel to the ground.
It is possible to perform lots of different workouts on a pull-up bar.
You can even build up the strength to be able to lift yourself with one arm or climb up, chin up, and then lift your legs up one at a time as though you are walking up some stairs. It’s really tough and you need to be sure to ‘climb’ as smoothly as possible so you don’t jolt or overexert yourself. If you feel it in your core, you’ll know you’ve hit the right spot.
Pull-Up Bar Workout for Your Shoulders:
- Lift and hold yourself on the bar with the palms of your hands facing towards you
- When your arms are locked in place, shrug your shoulders downwards. It will feel like they are moving forward and away from your ears
- Repeating this movement will work your traps, build strong shoulders, and help create a more solid and well-rounded posture
As you can see, there are lots of different bars you can use to get fit and strong quickly. A lot of people stick to the bench press, barbell curls, or avoid free weights altogether. While your friends are isolating their triceps, you’ll be dangling between some parallel bars, dipping or hammering your abs and core.
We love building core strength and whole-body strength. Isolation exercises are important, but nothing can beat a strong core and solid major muscle groups. If you haven’t built a good solid base to work off, you won’t perform well when targeting smaller muscle groups.
Using the different types of bars we mentioned above, it is easy to make sure your back, legs, and chest are strong and can support you.